Climbing Can Help Your Dancing
By Joel Torgeson
Readers, I admit it. I procrastinated on this month's article. I put it off in favor silly things like homework. I apologize.
One of the things that has occupied my column-writing time is my job as a rock-wall attendant. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I actually moonlight as a pretty dedicated rock climber; when I'm not dancing or studying, I'm probably climbing. So for you reading pleasure, a list of things about climbing, some of which have to do with dancing!
- The finger strength you build in climbing makes for solid connections in partnership.
- Climbing is all about the footwork. Everyone thinks of the arms and hands, but it's all in the feet.
- Much like dance moves, the rocks themselves are unsympathetic to failure. Be it a tiny hold that you can't quite grab or a heel turn you can't quite lead, both will be waiting for you to do the work necessary to get them right.
- Being able to do a route is not nearly as good as being able to do it properly, in a controlled fashion, with great technique.
- Everyone wants to work on projects (hard routes just outside their ability level), but few appreciate that in order to proceed most quickly, you have to focus on the basic, boring movements. That's the only way to succeed in harder holds and techniques.
- Culture is incredibly important. Climbers are some of the most open, positive, and interesting people I've ever met.
- Climbing is 98% failing. Repeatedly. It takes a mentally strong person to understand the long game and cope with failure positively.
- Climbing has a lingo all its own—slopers, crimps, jugging, heel-hooking, gastons—much like another intense physical activity I do.
- Shoes. If you don't have the right shoes, you're going to suffer.
- You do it as much for the community as for the love of the sport itself.
Hopefully you're at least mildly intrigued by rock-climbing, because this is almost certainly not the last you'll be hearing about it from me. For now, happy dancing!